Film director Vijay R. Gutte, son of a leading Maharashtra businessman close to the BJP, has been arrested in a case of alleged Rs 34-crore GST fraud committed through fake documents, official sources said here on Friday.
Director of an upcoming film The Accidental Prime Minister starring veteran actor Anupam Kher, Gutte has been remanded in custody till August 14 by a Mumbai court.
The Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence (DGGSTI) has booked Gutte under the Central Goods and Services Tax Act on charge of wrongfully availing input tax credit through fake bills and invoices.
If found guilty, Gutte could face a penalty and jail for five years, the sources said.
According to DGGSTI, Gutte's firm VRG Digital Corp Pvt Ltd (VRGDCPL) allegedly received fake invoices involving GST of around Rs 34 crore for animation and manpower services from Horizon Outsource Solutions Pvt Ltd (HOSPL).
Under the GST regime, the input tax credit permits taxpayers to claim credit for taxes paid on purchases after submission of proper documents.
Incidentally, the HOSPL is already under investigations in another massive GST fraud case.
Besides, VRGDCPL had also claimed refunds of Rs 28 crore under the Central VAT credits availed for these fraudulent invoices for over a year.
As per the remand plea filed by the DGGSTI, Gutte was accused of availing non-existent input tax credits and also fraudulently claiming refunds for the same from the GST Department using bogus invoices intended to cheat the government.
Gutte's father Ratnakar Gutte is a prominent sugar baron of Parbhani and had contested the 2014 Assembly elections as a BJP-alliance candidate but lost to the Nationalist Congress Party.
Last month, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, Dhananjay Munde (NCP), had raised the issue of how Ratnakar Gutte had allegedly availed loans of Rs 5,400 crore in the name of more than 25,000 farmers from various banks through 22 shell companies.
Gutte had rubbished Munde's allegations.
A producer of three films, The Accidental Prime Minister is Vijay Gutte's debut directorial venture, starring Kher in the title role of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Akshaye Khanna as his Media Advisor Sanjaya Baru.
The film, whose promo clips have caused a huge buzz on the social media, is based on Baru's book and slated for a December release.